Parenting

Two Thousand Kisses a Day by L.R. Knost. A book review

Sharing my thoughts on Two Thousand Kisses a Day : Gentle Parenting through the Ages and Stages by L.R. Knost.

…family relationships are the steady and sure bedrock of secure connection and belonging that ground us and assure us that our needs will not go unmet even in the darkest of times.

L.R. Knost, page 2

Woah! Isn’t that what we all want?

…a safe harbor where our needs will be met even in the darkest of times.

L.R. Knost surely captures our heart’s desire, aware that children or adults, parents or not, we never outgrow the need for community, interaction, appreciation, reassurance, and support.

And in her book, Two Thousand Kisses a Day, L.R. Knost holds our hand wherever we are in our parenting journey. From surviving the first three months with a newborn all the way to gently parenting our adult children.

Whispering words of wisdom in our ear, L.R. Knost knows what she’s talking about. A child development researcher, founder and director of the advocacy and consulting group Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources. A mama of six, and grandma too.

L.R. Knost is passionate about children’s rights and about peace, in our homes and in our world. She makes a grand claim…

Sending our children out into the world as adults with their needs met, with coping mechanisms in place for those times when the stresses overwhelm them, and with the knowledge of a safe haven where comfort is always available when the world hurts them is a powerful way to change the world for the better.

L.R. Knost, page 53

And not just full of beautiful sentiment, this book is a Little Hearts Handbook. Packed with practical tips and actionable plans to help us handle all kinds of common parenting concerns –

  • newborn sleeping habits
  • breastfeeding, weaning and healthy eating
  • how to get anything done with a baby πŸ™‚
  • supporting toddlers with sharing
  • transitioning to using a potty
  • talking to teens
  • promoting positive self-esteem
  • supporting children and teens to deal with loss, fear and other Hard Stuff

and so much more.

A slim volume with short, readable chapters. The content is clear and concise, yet utterly compelling. Perfect for binge reading and dipping in and out on the go.

But don’t be fooled by it’s size. This book is worth far more than it’s weight in wisdom. Urging us to focus on connection, communication and building trust with our children, the principles shared by L.R. Knost have profound potential to radically transform our relationships and our world.

Maybe, just maybe, sowing peace in our homes is the answer for our children, our families, and our world, after all.

L.R. Knost, page 53

Two Thousand Kisses a Day supports us to nurture strong relationships with our children from the moment they are born. Reminding us that babies are not biologically designed to sleep through the night and that too soon this time will pass and these precious moments will become mere beautiful memories.

In her section on co-sleeping, L.R. Knost offers support and encouragement on how we can meet our little one’s night-time needs. She uses a broad definition of the term co-sleeping providing much more than just helpful information on safe bed-sharing.

Reading this as a fourth time mama, these early chapters stood out for me. A closet co-sleeper with my eldest and put off longer term breastfeeding by well-meaning claims ‘there’s no benefit past a year or so’, the beautiful description of co-sleeping as one face of love that meets so many needs simply and naturally touched my heart.

While these shocking statistics blew my mind…

The US incurs $13 billion in excess costs annually and suffers 911 preventable deaths per year because … breastfeeding rates fall far below medical recommendations.

L.R. Knost, page 19

And this research from the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics only considered the benefits of breastfeeding babies for six months. L.R. Knost adds… Imagine the tally if the researchers had looked at the lives lost and billions of dollars spent unnecessarily in a two year breastfeeding scenario.

My eldest children were already teens when this book was published, and yet I gained so much. Not only did the evidence and encouragement in books like this one strengthen my commitment to the principles of gentle parenting, but also boosted my courage and confidence. Embracing co-sleeping and longer term breastfeeding as a conscious choice with my younger children, the words of L.R. Knost were a comforting read.

Throughout this book L.R. Knost challenges us to consider what life might look and feel like through the eyes of our little ones. This provocative peek into our babies minds highlights the powerful significance of our choices.

L. R. Knost has a staggeringly simple suggestion.

As gentle parents, we are our children’s first and best friends in the purest and truest definition of friendship.

L.R. Knost, page 92

And while L.R. Knost offers plenty of solid suggestions on how this can work in practice, she doesn’t prescribe the exact path we should follow. She recognises there are many ways to build a strong, intimate, interwoven family fabric that will stand the test of time. She explains…

The principles of gentle parenting (i.e connection, empathy, intentionality, respect) don’t change as our children grow, just as they don’t change from one child to the next.

L.R. Knost page 91

But just as friendship takes many forms, so the practical application of gentle parenting principles can look vastly different between, and even within, families.

L.R. Knost’s warmth and compassion for children and parents is evident throughout the book. While emphasising the importance of responding to our children’s needs and respecting their rights, she celebrates both children and parents.

This book even includes a chapter on parental guilt.

One of the inherent pitfalls in gentle parenting is the tendency to blame our parenting for any behaviour issues our children are having.

L.R. Knost, page 64

L.R. Knost considers the implications of this self-blame for us and our children. Guilty of taking things way too personally and aware this doesn’t serve me or my children, I’m always glad of the reminder that children aren’t simply mirrors of our parenting.

And that too much focus on our own fears of failing as a parent is not only depriving them of the dignity of taking personal responsibility for themselves, but… also denigrating their capabilities and individuality. A sobering thought.

We’re learning all the time as parents and as people. L.R. Knost describes parenting as a journey, not a destination

No matter how prepared we are, there will always be unexpected challenges as surely as there will be unexpected joys.

L.R. Knost, page 5

And wherever you might be on that journey, I wholeheartedly recommend Two Thousand Kisses a Day – and this book πŸ™‚

I have to thank my eldest daughter for discovering and sharing this book with me. Though not a parent herself, she’s read a few parenting books πŸ™‚ And the best ones, she says, are those with the potential to improve all our relationships. Two Thousand Kisses, with it’s focus on love and connection, respect and trust has that by the bucket-load.

All bold text in this post is taken directly from Two Thousand Kisses a Day. This book is jam-packed with wonderful quotes. But don’t take my word for it, grab your own copy and let me know what you think πŸ™‚

You can find tons more of L.R. Knost’s quotes on Instagram and at her blog, along with an amazing archive of blog posts about gentle parenting.

And talking of quotes, it was this one here that first led my daughter to the work of L.R. Knost and inspired my first ever post on this site.

For more book reviews go here, and look out, there’s more on the way x

2 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for the heads up about this book and website, Hayley. It sounds like it covers a range of ages, which I love because those themes of gentleness, connection and support are important throughout. What a neat thing that your daughter introduced you to her work!

    1. Hayley says:

      Thanks Erin. That’s one of my favourite things about Two Thousand Kisses, how she covers all the ages and stages. Glad to spread the word, love so much of what L.R. Knost has to say.

      And yes, so pleased to have found her through my daughter. Isn’t it wonderful how much we learn from our children? πŸ™‚

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